Kissing honestly – a Kingdom of God reality.

An Honest answer is like a Kiss on the lips – Kiss of friendship

Proverbs 24:26

imagesI am amazed and shocked how much influence a man can wield…   our TV has been dominated in recent years with talent shows and competitions for all types of people and animals.   Dog trainers, singers, puppeteer, acrobats, martial arts, dancers, individuals and groups alike, all trying their best, programs such as  “….got talent”, “X factor”, “The Voice”, “Idol”, the population that view seem to be oblivious to the program’s design, its aim to be exposing of the unfortunate through flattery, its staging what will be done to get viewing figures, the ridicules along with the talented in a world where we have no failures where we are not to allow any one to fail at anything. 

The voice of one man, one judge is sought on the UK and USA programs, the opinion of the daddy of talent programs Simon Cowell, a judge, it is what all take interest in receiving.   Yet he has acquired a reputation for his severe criticism of the pop-star hopefuls, talent displays. “My attitude has always been, ‘Don’t lie to people,’” Simon says. “Kids turn up unrehearsed, wearing the wrong clothes, singing out of tune, and you can either say, ‘Good job,’ and patronize them or tell them the truth, and sometimes the truth is perceived as mean.”

The real question is, why do people even show up?

Even the untrained ear can discern that many of them can’t sing. Yet they believe with miraculous sincerity that they can make it big. What has happened here?

Someone lied. In an attempt to encourage, a parent or friend or significant other told the hopeful singer that he had the right stuff. In the name of love, someone told him that he should make a CD. Out of a desire to protect the self-image of a young person, someone lied.

Cowell acknowledges that part of his job is to close that gap: “For a lot of contestants, it’s a suspension of belief. Your family and friends say you’re pretty good—and we’re here to stop you.”

 

Before you made a fool of yourself, wouldn’t you want to be stopped? As hard as it may be to hear the truth, as difficult as it may be to accept it, wouldn’t it be more loving and kind if someone said, gently and firmly, “Don’t do this. It’s not good. I like you. I love you. But you’re not a pop star”?

Of course it would. But we’ve lost the ability to tell the truth when the truth is hard.

Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,”  it’s not an honest answer is like a slap on the face. A kiss is something to look forward to…but honesty?

How can these two be similar?

How is a kiss comparable to an honest answer?

A kiss honours relationship.

A kiss brings us close to another and builds relationship.

Risking this type of kiss, we honour one another and our relationships.

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, took a big risk when he told Moses that he was taking on too much responsibility by acting as arbiter of all disputes for the people of Israel: “What you are doing is not good!” (Ex. 18:17 ).   Moses, who was not known for his patience when confronted with the truth, could easily have rejected this advice—and the advisor. However, “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said” (v. 24 ).

How many times has your wife or husband come to you honestly “I’m upset…” your children turn and say “I don’t like that…”   Often we are not excited to be told the truth about ourselves, especially when it’s contrary to our perception

We could save ourselves much hassle by letting things go.    But some times we bravely take on the task of truth telling for my sake and for the sake of better relationships in our family. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

    Telling the truth is interior decoration for another’s character. The risk—and the relationship—is worth it.

More thoughts on these kisses next time

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Road signs ahead…

images-7As you drive in the rural areas of UK the road signs are some times different to urban driving.   You come across signs that tell you to pay attention of, “Beware of…”.   Generally they are small signs, not mass-produced or government signs but little hand-made, painted on cardboard to wooden board and some times even marked stones.

Signs of “beware lambing season”, “beware heavy plant in road”, “beware ducks crossing”, they communicate one thing in all their ways BEWARE, pay attention, take a second look, make sure you’re paying attention, avoid an accident or an incident.   All these tells us we don’t want you to harm yourself or any one else.

While recently writing blogs on the prophetic a few have come to mind, things written on hearts, hands, eyes, life really.    I would like to knock a few hand-made posts in regarding the prophetic, to hold up some beware’s for us all.   All prophetic ministry, using it in a broad sense if you prophecy or are in ministry call, even if you are an elder, pastor, vicar or teacher you should have a prophetic fervour in you.

All prophetic ministry should Beware of Weariness.  When the scriptures says don’t images-13grow weary, weariness.   Think of the prophets that got tired.    Elijah running from Jezebel, oh the grace of God that he didn’t just wake him up and give him a meal but sent him back to sleep.   Let’s get rid of the weariness.

Beware of a weariness that is deeper than just physical.   beware of the weariness that insidiously creeps into your soul, the tiredness of not wanting to get up and do it again.   Or so much flack that you don’t want to get up and say it again.   weariness. beware of that weariness.

When Jesus pressed himself on in the garden of Gethsemane and had come back and asked them to wait the hour and watch the hour in pray with him, he says “…can’t you even watch the one hour?”   Their weariness.   But he couldn’t afford to let that weariness press his soul.   For if he had allowed that weariness to engulf he soul the cup would never had been drunk and you and I would not have been here.

Beware flattery.  All the apt on the back to the prophet.   Beware those who come flattering you on your delivery, your content. your powerful word and yet don’t change by it.   Flattery comes from the heart that is committed to no change.   It just wants you to feel good about accepting them in their unchanged state.   Beware flattery.

Beware compromise that when you have the word of God, when you have the vision of God, then you don’t indulge in well may be, well perhaps you are right, maybe I will have to tone it down a wee bit and yes perhaps I am asking too much too soon, and by the time they will have finished helping you adjust your vision will be so small you will need a microscope to find it.   Don’t compromise.

Beware of ridding your gift.  Most prophets, not all but most, are articulate.   But when in the unction of the Holy Spirit they bring the word of God it is powerful and articulate, even when they are preaching the prophetic word, it can be very easy to lose your dependence on God and ride your gift.

Beware hypocrisy.  It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t shout out to the crowds there images-12beware of hypocrisy, he accepted the fact that the Pharisees had hypocrisy, but he said to his own, beware of the leaven.  Hypocrisy of demanding in your words what you are not willing to walk and are not walking in, of calling on people to walk by principles that your are not a model for living in.

I have found myself being in situations where people are generous they give, share of their life and give as well as tithe while some men and women live on this generosity yet did not personally tithe, the church required the people to be generous in this manner other wise it would not meet its responsibilities.   I could not believe it, what right did they have to expect what they did not do.   What right do we have to know the depth of their actions and not walk ourselves in it?   Beware hypocrisy.

Beware the influence of wrong companions to you as God servant.   Imagine how many people in the hour of crises or time to strain forward to stand for what is to come from God found themselves in companionship that keep undercutting, undermining, with nice words and suggestions.

Beware trying to prove your ministry.   if you are a prophet you don’t need to prove your ministry.    there is nothing for you to prove.   Listen to what its says in 1 Samuel 3:19-20 ‘Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail.  And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-Sheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet.   Who confined him?   God, by not letting his words fail.  By brining it about.  You have nothing to prove.   You are either bringing the word, if you are bridging the word, let God do the proving.  It will happen. You don’t fight anything.

 Just be who you are meant to be, enjoy the adventure as you expand and follow Godlikeness, as those who are part of a prophetic movement, a church called to be the voice of God, to enable, to inspire all to hear God, to enable people to hear the Father where ever they find themselves to be far from God or where God has made us near.

“You Won…”

images-9Subtitled “You won Arthur!”

We recently directed some guests of ours from overseas to Kings Cross station London as they wanted to see platform 9 ¾, I wondered what they wanted, 9 ¾ never heard of such a platform, cannot be really?  I had no idea what they were talking about, never heard of it, thought they are not from UK.    However I found out that they knew better than me, the platform was made famous through Harry Potter’s book, you go to the platform quite simply to get your photo opportunity… just in case you wish to see it take the Underground to Kings Cross / St. Pancras, (two main line stations that share the same Underground Station).        Follow the signs into Kings Cross Station when you get to the surface walk along Platform 8 (it’s totally free access).     When you see a sign directing you left to Platforms 9 to 11 keep going on along Platform 8 and the Platform 9 3/4 photo opportunity is a few yards further along on your left. There is normally a conspicuous sign on the platform pointing to the small alcove and out of the wall projects half a baggage trolley.   You have arrived at your destination.

I had no idea of how to get there or how to help others arrive there then the thought came to me, it is a real challenge for us all to answer the question   “where are we going and how can we help each other get there?”.    It is a timely question in the hour we live, with so many changes in society, politics and the economic world , in the business world and in the world of faith, the church change is coming at us as a fast speeding train, whether we want it or not.    Where is it taking us and how can we help each other get  there?

It  is a day for the prophetic people of God to come to the forth, a day in the midst of much noise and debate, to take hold of the word of God.     Gods’ words when uttered in the past created, they also sustained people who took them up.    These spoken words gave direction and knowledge to those who listen and heard them, those who listened  did not find themselves with out understanding.

Clearly we are in a day of discovering a deeper trust of the Father a new listening and obedience that will lead us into freedom and to the land of promise.    We have to grasp the idea that we are on journey,  that in itself  will empower, challenge and  mature all who embark.

Today as people of God in the west, we find ourselves so much part of societies thinking at large, that it has invaded the church and they way we think, becoming consumers in every way.   Seeking ever-increasing experiences for our emotions, listening to the word of God to consume that which we believe that will give us a quick advance, an edge on life or even fix?    Making decisions on that which we can get hold of immediately, the NOW rules us.    Yet the Journey men and women of old, the pictures of lives of people between the covers of the scriptures walked a journey, not a quick dash with immediate consumer gratification.    Consider the lesson of one of these journey men, Abraham, here is a man who had promise upon promise spoken to him, of people’s, fathering, sons, nation and land, God promises to bless all nations through Abraham, yet Abraham received none of these in his day, but  even 1000’s of years on the promises are still coming to pass.

Even more than that Abraham had a 644 Kilometer journey, once he was willing to entertain the promise.   A 644 Kilometer journey and a 4000+ year, time frame, to get the promises.   Now that is a challenge once he become obedient to the promise words of God it was a long haul walk and a massive time frame to content with.    Now don’t get me wrong on the journey there where evidences, victories of the promise but its fullness took walking on investing time, he become wealthy in his day, he had influence and did finally get a true son of promise, but certainly one son does not constitute a nation!   Once Abraham believed and entered the journey it was counted as righteousness to him, that is keeping in right line with the journey, and keeping it foundational to life’s actions and decisions.   The words of God are living, but how living are they ?  They require movement, obedience, a change of vicinity, a change of surroundings, a departure and a step in front of you.    Actually the words of promise to us all are to bring about sons of God who are led by the Spirit, to bring maturity in light of eternal promise.

I think its time to discover not only the joy of the immediate but the eternal will of the Father, knowing that we have been called to an eternal purpose, to depart from the tent of  the immediate and become the tent of meeting for our life and then our world around us.     We are, the people of God, the ecclesia, the church are to be the place where people will meet the love of God along with a people who are a prophetic journeying people

Let me encourage you to find others people who will also ask, where is all this taking us?  where are we going and how can i help you get there rather than making sure i can get there.

Traveling in a plane has its challenges, but no more for me than the initial film or safety demonstration, we are all shown, there is one difficult line there to listen  to, it goes something like this …make sure your mask when it drops from the roof goes on you first before you see to children or others… that is so against the journey of prophetic people,  firstly seeing to ourselves before others, so that we can all arrive together.    Many years ago  we were taught to play croquet by a great Godly man called Arthur Wallis some 15 or so of us, in a retreat centre in Sheffield.   As we came to the end of our game and lesson Arthur being the master crossed the line, won the game and a shout of “…you have won Arthur…” went up from all,  with this he turned and said “…no I only cross the line when all my brothers cross…” and with that he went to  be with the Lord.   What a line to enter eternity with, to depart this expression of life with, what a way to live, asking more how can i help you get to the destination of the will of God rather than consuming, to get there myself.

So find journey men and women, young people, children sojourners who are pursuing the will of the Father in eternal promise and plan and seek to help each other fulfill the prophetic purpose of God.

Effected by a child’s birth

images-4 The incarnation and its effect

He became that we might become the Ultimate Transformation, this season of celebration, the incarnation must be about this.   Ultimate Transformation when the process arrived in life, when Christ became flesh as a means of our transformation.  – life poured to life completed, one emptied the other filled.   One poured out that many might be filled.

The answered prayer of Jesus later spoken but a life lived as a prayer the desire of the Father accomplishes God’s Purposes in our lives, incarnation is about God’s purpose.     Consider the greatness of God as the move is towards purpose and Jehovah is the Highest of the high and the Greatest of the great, but He is also willing to become the Lowest of the low and stoop down to meet us where we are and humanities needs.

To “look upon the lowly” means to pay attention to them and regard them with favor (11:4; 113:5–9; Isa. 57:15 and 66:2; Luke 1:47–55).      The ultimate proof of this is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, for He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9) and became a servant that we might be set free (Phil. 2:1–12).

He was lowly in His life and in His death, for He who is perfect was treated like a criminal and nailed to a cross, and on that cross, He became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

King David gave thanks that the Lord knew his need and came to his aid.    In His covenant with David (2 Sam. 7), God revealed that He had a great purpose to fulfill through David’s life, and He would not allow the enemy to thwart that purpose.     This is true for you and I that might believe today (Phil. 1:6 and 2:13; Eph. 2:10 and 3:20; Col. 1:29), and He will not forsake us.

It has well been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth, let us set 2013 to demonstrate this and be actively involved in bring Gods purpose to earth

 

Change of leading – Things are changing

 

We cannot read the narrative of the life of Jesus without seeing change going on often hidden in a number of different actions, words and motives in action.   It comes down to comments  that Jesus made such as “…you say this but I say…”, outlining a change of life style, order and action in that very moment when people encountered this Jesus.   It makes me wonder how many of us bring about change in the people we meet, in their concepts, practices and lifestyles?   I say this totally believing that  this is our gospel of the Kingdom and what the gospel calls us to become and to be, those who announce change and enable change at every hand in humanity.    That my preaching is not about the performance or the rhetoric but more about it being a stage in the listener’s life of enabling transformation or simply enabling different thinking patterns.

Jesus had this knack of, “…you say this but I say…” constantly, for some it was liberating for others it produced a reaction, with some getting angry to the demands, awakening people to they lives lived by a religious scale, it’s a precious lesson for us to know asking ourselves “..at what level of a religious scale do I live at or with”?  I hear some saying as a reaction “…Listen I am not religious, I am a Christian, it’s about relationships…”  really, but where are you on your religious scale, my question still stands.   We all have some religion that we are being liberated from, when we look at our lives in the cool of day I am sure we would agree that there is religion there.   The joy is we have a way of liberation of freedom on offer as we listen to the “you say this but I  say this” directions.   It is things changing in us then around us!

When Jesus arrived, the book of Hebrews summed it up, there was a change of priesthood happening, with laws and practices moving from shadows and pictures into reality in the life of Christ.   The message becomes “…better…” as the Hebrews write declare many times, better covenant, better priesthood, better…  So when God came to earth when mankind embraced the divine and Jesus arrived in Nazareth religious vessels broke, patterns of old ways had to change, rules came undone and a new kind of life broke in and the “…Kingdom of God came amongst men…” 

For instance if you were a  Rabbi you were not supposed to talk to Samaritans, heal on the Sabbath, challenge the Religious, hang out with fishermen, get your feet washed by ladies of unknown origin, go to dinner with tax collectors , travel with women and the list continues on and on – Things Changed, things are changing!

Jesus did all that and more, it did not bother him to challenge the status quo or what others thought, in our day, I believe a of restoration and as a restorer that we are here to restore society it still means I don’t need to fit in and I do need to be a catalyst of change to a Jesus way.   I should not simply fit in as  a matter of fact I should bring about change and be the incarnation of God in my daily life in my society,  showing grace and bringing the demand for Justice and righteousness in what ever way the situation and circumstance demands.

Our cultures are changing at breakneck speed, it is hard to keep up, the church, that is, you and I, are to be the cause of change and not just reactors to the changes.    This is restoration, causing cultural change, causing the Kingdom of God to come to our worlds with in worlds is it not?

Here are some of the things in dealing with the people of God and in dealing with what we call ministry that are changing; but first I want to list some of the older patters that need to change and are being transformed for us by a new priesthood.

Be loyal to your denominations – do what they say it is for the best – yet in our world where the relationship word is strong and has a growing influence and vocabulary use and relationships and covenant is becoming more demanding making sure that relationship/covenant does not to reinvent control or incorrect demanding loyalty but to be like God in our relationship and keep faithful

Be slow to change so people don’t get uncomfortable, its been focus on who you have and done reach out

Do all you can to keep money people in the congregations – bills need paying

Make doctrinal correctness your top priority – quickly correct, judge and separate deviants.

Love people who fit in your church vision and are like you.  tolerate others the best you can

Lots of programs so everyone has something to do all the time, more is better, keep them looking in on the programs.

Your style of preaching/teaching is to tell people what to do as you know better.  Talking down to people.

Do everything decently and in order – be predictable 

I would say that all these above are under the scrutiny of change in some way or another, they are all on a journey of being  discovers and restored correctly or done away with in a new culture though a reformation that is happening all around us.    Each one of the above could and should be discussed in their own right to see the change look at its implication but this is not my aim today. 

Now lets turn a page and look at some new ways that may be in your street right now.

Care, Care, Care really care for people.  people know if you don’t.   Society around cannot deal with real, authentic loving relationships when centered on Christ.   Be a careful we still get caught in judging quicker than loving.

Enhance Life.   Do something in your community to enhance life being socially minded, it gives people something to take to others and helps to give a point of conversation.

Teach accurately – help people to hear God for themselves in a world with so many voices and opportunities in hearing the word.   Making teaching simple by the teaching through relevant topics.

Speak bluntly DONT OFFEND PEOPLE FOR NO REASON.   sometimes we must say things to help people in the complexity of life, most will appreciate your courage of conviction as long as you don’t judge.   here is an old one don’t use the teaching and preaching to vent frustration what you don’t like, BE CHRIST TO PEOPLE reach, accept and love while changing.

Involve in mission all people

Media – use it but not over kill.   People want people not celluloid, authenticity means life touching life not film, video, media saying it all, there is nothing fleshed out, there is no message.   Use it to enhance life and not instead of life, easier said than done some times for techies.

Change quickly when it’s not working, no method is in stone, find better ways all the time, bring people to change and be sure of change – ITS THE GOSPEL!   help people’s emotion to be able to change.

Authentic – BE IT people see and recognize emptiness a long way off, or some one full of words and no authenticity, be honest about your failures but don’t use them or live from  or on them, don’t use them for emotional currency it will not build, just be authentically in love with God and his people and be authentic yourself..

Practical what you say or teach either works or it does not, if it does not you will lose friends and eventually all but if your practical works you will gain friends.

Be a little crazy shake up, adventure, take a step, break through Peoples tipping point, give people a reason to be out there and of course give opportunity while you model adventure.

In all these see if you can adopt and try changing,  let the something changing be you?